POWER OF FORGIVENESS.....
ON THE VICTIM!
is forgiveness, Why forgive, and How to forgive
Martin G. "Mike" Ramey
BUT UNPASSABLE WATERS
I am not a therapist, nor do I play one on television. In fact, I'd like to thank
those whom I know who have the 'gift' of counseling. Not everyone can do what
you can do.
However, we are going into territory that few--if any--want to deal with--as it
impacts the male sex. So, this column is not for the faint of heart, and you may
be surprised by its content, and how the matter is handled. I'll warn you up front,
it will be handled from a biblical perspective. In fact, I dare say that this
column may be the first step in the liberation of many of my brothers who have
been searching for freedom--for years--and may finally have found the answer to
why they do, what they do. My brothers, the answer for the present, lay in the
waters of your past.
begin, let me say that I do believe in counseling and therapy. However, I don't
believe in ETERNAL counseling and therapy. There comes a time when you have to
leave the counselor's office, or the therapists' couch and face Real Life 101
again, with your head held high, and your armor intact. You may walk with a limp,
but keep on walking. We need you out here! Let's look at the last time you lost
a job. Brothers, it hurts to be 'pink slipped' or 'fired' by anyone. It hurts
more for a man, because we have been ordained by God to be 'providers' for our
loved ones. We are the ones who are supposed to rise--and work.
That's OUR job.
So, to get back to what I was saying, when you lost your job, you had to have
help to find another one. However, when you went on your interviews, the 'coach'
that helped you, was not with you. YOU had to talk with that new employer, or,
perhaps several new employers, in order to interview for that new job, win it,
and start it.
The proper role of the counselor or therapist in my view, is to identify the problem
provide one with a sounding board, plus a means to get you through the problem--not
to keep you trapped in the problem. Unfortunately, there are those counselors,
or therapists who wish to enrich themselves by keeping you 'hooked' on their help.
In my view, one who has the 'gift' of counseling SHOULD be working to get a person
to learn how to face the problem and stand on their own. Not to keep them enslaved,
or dependent upon them.
OF THE HEART AND PAST:
I dare say that there are some of us who have been victims in our youth of any
one of the several areas. Keep in mind that these areas are the same areas that
many women have faced, have had books dedicated to, talk shows aired about, and
articles generated about. However, men have not been afforded this luxury, nor--if
I may be so bold--do some, modern women care if we have faced these issues. Ready?
Here they are:
*Rape--Contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts in the field,
a man can be a rape victim. Rape is, by definition, a stronger person, or a person
operating from a position of strength or trust, forcing their sexual desires upon
an unwilling person.
*Incest--Again, contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts in
the field, an older female member of a family can take sexual advantage of younger
male family members.
*Molestation--Again, contrary to the 'feminized' view, and documented by experts
in the field, boys can have their 'sexual innocence' ripped from them by predatory
women in positions of authority. The best example I can think of involve recent
cases where female school teachers have been 'caught ' having sex with male students.
Yes, we have heard of the 'male teacher/female student' scenario. But, the female
teacher/male student scenario is just as real, and can do just as much damage.
Violence--This is one that is just starting to get talked about. Where women are
beating up on the men in their lives, be they husbands, fathers, or boyfriends.
Law enforcement agencies in more than a few jurisdictions are now adopting a 'gender
blind' attitude. Whoever throws the first punch, or object, goes to jail. And,
brothers, there are more women going to jail and being charged with this crime.
there are an estimated 1.5 million women AND 875,000 men who are victims of this
crime of violence. Let me also add, there are no shelters in the United States
to help battered men.
*General Violence--Where a boy is terrorized, intimidated, or beaten up by a group
of boys, or group of girls, and has no way of fighting back. While women have
a variety of outlets to discuss their sufferings in public, the same public does
not want to hear about men who have been victims of these same crimes. Press reporting
of male victims is usually relegated to the back pages of the newspaper.
THE TITLE OF THIS COLUMN?:
the reason why I am bringing these issues to the table in this column is that
many of us don't know why we act the way we do in the present. Why do many of
us 'drink, drug, and chase' too much in the present? The Bible says, we have not
dealt with the 'root of bitterness'. We have not dealt with an issue in our past,
successfully, and it has served to become the 'trigger' of our present bad deeds.
I'm not excusing some of our present bad behavior, but I am doing something you
don't hear mentioned when it comes to men in this present day.
Offering an explanation.
The reason behind the title of this month's column is simple. Something has happened
to a brother in our past, and only he knows what it is. And, whenever the topic
comes up for discussion, it is one he shuns, due to the fact that even in our
present society, men are never thought of as having been victimized or hurt.
words--to some of you sisters who may be reading this column--the man in your
life right now, who may not be as 'open' as you would like, may have been victimized
as a little boy, and have not dealt with these issues well into manhood, BECAUSE
NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO HIS CRY, OR HIS PROBLEM! The boy who was molested by an
older female relative as a child, can grow up to be a molester, or an abuser of
others himself--OR--can seek to abuse himself with alcohol, drugs, or criminal
behavior. Again, going back to the Bible, that root of bitterness can lay there
for years, and spring up in uncharted ways. Seeking drugs. Seeking sex outside
of marriage. Constant outburst of temper. Self-destructive, or 'death wish' types
of behavior. Am I making sense? Then, let's hear an AMEN from the cheap seats!
good friend of mine, one of my mentors, died a few years ago. He told me his story
one night, over a cup of coffee and the span of several hours. Yes, he was a biker,
and a top member of one of the leading motorcycle gangs in the WORLD. But, he
eventually became a Christian, and--one by one--the negatives began to fall away.
However, he was still abusive. He would bat his wife around like he was 'shooting
hoops' out on the playground. He sought out an older man, his mentor who led him
to Christ, and wanted to know why he was still abusive. The reason lay dormant
in his past, but was manifesting in the present.
It turned out that, as a little boy, about age six, my mentor was molested by
a female relative, who was never prosecuted, or jailed. That time bomb led him
on a twenty-plus year binge in violence, drugs, alcohol, and abuse. My mentor's
mentor gave him the Scriptures, told him to forgive--and release--the person who
had wronged him in the power of Christ. Also, he was to ask forgiveness from the
persons he had wronged, including his wife. He found the way out--through Christ.
IN ONE NIGHT,
my mentor found the way out, thanks to a brother who was willing to listen, and
offer real counsel. From that day, to his dying day, my mentor never lifted his
hand in anger to anyone--especially his wife. He told her what had happened, and
their marriage was not only restored, it was made better!
Brothers, some of you reading this need to find a mentor; a trusted, older man
who is willing to help you work through your past. Yes, you may walk with a limp
in the present, but then, you can help others in need. But, in addition to this,
you have to trust that God will take care of the one(s) who abused you, hurt you,
robbed you of your virginity, and left you to die by the roadside.
YOU must choose to forgive them, and release them of their crimes against you
in the past, in order for you to walk on in the present. Forgiveness is done day
by day, until the pain of the offense goes away. There are more of us who need
this help, than we would like would admit. One does not have to have a degree
to be a good counselor. Only a willing ear, and a heart geared towards freedom.
Count me, among those, who are willing to listen to your cry.
* * * *
Mike Ramey is the author of 'THE MANHOOD LINE', a column written to men, from
a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective.
This column appears monthly in a host of African American publications, and websites.
email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or, email@example.com.
Snail mail can
go to PO Box 20131, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46220, USA.
© 2001 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm
TO MIKE RAMEY
Steve Van Nattan-- I wrote back to Mike when he sent me this article and gave
me permission to use it. I decided that the best way to share my impressions with
you would be to just drop my letter to Mike Ramey right here. Memorial Day is
not much of a day of remembering the US Military Veterans. Most of you people
don't care diddly who might have gone "over there" in your place. I
hope someone today makes an effort to help one of these Black or White veterans
who has never unloaded the bitterness and hate of Vietnam in particular.
Dear Mike Ramey:
and so correct. Brother, there have to be thousands of Anglos who have had the
same experience, so I will use this and add some observations. I am convinced
that a lot of demon possession comes out of these sexual molestation acts also,
especially after the offender dies and the devil finds itself "in dry places"
and turns to the victim for a place to hang out.
I wonder how much racism is based in this problem. Could it be that it is a handy
cop out for a Black man to turn in hate on Whitey when his own mother messed him
up long ago. And, could some red neck in Arkansas be, in fact, finding a substitute
for his hate of a past molester by getting revenge on some local Black person?
do you think? Of course, we have to face it-- a lot of sin is just because people
are fallen sinners, and there is no past blame to be found. But, I do wonder about
the filthy ways of both Duke (KKK and hate) and Jesse Jackson (womanizing and
fabrications of White evil). One has to wonder if these boys are really in need
to take charge of some past event as you mentioned.
Another issue is the Vietnam thing. There are a lot of men out there who have
never been right since "The Nam" days. I have to wonder if they need to deal with
their bitterness at those who forced them into killer roles and a war they could
not win. That war did horrible things to many guys, for they had to go be a tough
soldier, watch men die, and NOT win. Forgiving someone would be so helpful, bur
who-- Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Kennedy, Ike (who caused the war by not talking to
Ho Chi Min)?
The worst part is all the pain and lack of purpose the ordinary soldiers felt
as they came home from that event. As a chaplain's assistant, I saw how those
guys who were in Nam were messed up mentally. Some are still out in the woods,
big dog as their only friend, clinging to a shotgun, and hating the world in general.
I saw it over and over in Michigan where I pastored. It never ended for those
guys. You can still snap a piece of wood, and they will dive for cover, or start
to anyway. I am a conservative Christian and Bible believer, but I sure lost my
zeal for making excuses for war "during Vietnam".
For my part, I taught my boys to defend their family, their honor, the Word of
God, and do anything to stay out of war. All US wars since the Hitler era have
been a sick joke and nothing to die for or get mentally messed up for. God delivered
me from actually going to Vietnam, but I saw the horrible maimed men coming back
at Fort Knox, and it terrified me. I believe a lot of those Black fellows are
still roaming the streets of Chicago taking out their hate on others, and a lot
of those White men are still out in the woods hating the world. Your article applies
there too. Only through Christ can a man forgive, not Ho Chi Min, but the faceless
mindless nation that demanded they trash their minds (and bodies) on that no win
You hit on a big one Mike. You ought to do this again and talk about war and Vietnam.
Go sit in a VFW and American Legion and watch the men, Black and White, hanging
on the bar sipping their memories into oblivion. They don't talk much about their
war days-- they just try to drown their miseries and memories.
Then there is Timothy McVeigh-- There is a real extreme way some trained military
killers become deadly. They are raped of their conscience in boot camp and in
advanced combat killing training, and they are persuaded by mind bending experts
that killing people is "Standard Operating Procedure." They drink deep,
and they are never the same again. What if this kid McVeigh had had a mentor to
help him deal with his killer heritage as a military men? His only mentor now
is a shark attorney who will defend a killer, no matter what he has done. What
a miserable way to end this life.
* * * *
reader: What tragedy do you suppose you could prevent by speaking of Christ and
the power of forgiveness to someone who is showing the marks of some past horror,
whether that of sexual offense, or the mental scars of war? You may be the only
one some fellow will listen to. What are you doing that counts for that guy and
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